Smart Villages in Ireland
Participating communities in the North-Kerry/West-Limerick region will join a number of other towns and villages across Ireland that have taken the first steps on their journey to a smarter and sustainable future. Examples of emerging Smart Villages in Ireland are included below, with links to learn more about the measures and interventions developed by these communities
Home to a population of 12,500, the Dingle Peninsula is one of Europe’s most westerly regions. As participants in the Smart Rural 21 programme, a European-wide project that supports communities in developing and delivering smart village strategies, communities in the Dingle Peninsula have come together to develop a Smart Village Strategy that addresses the strengths and constraints facing this rural region. With a distinctive natural landscape and strong cultural heritage, Dingle benefits from a strong tourism economy, supported by the agricultural and marine sectors. However, like many rural communities in Ireland, the peninsula contends with issues around emigration and the accessibility of services. Led by NEWKD and developed with extensive public consultation and networking, the Dingle Smart Village Strategy contains 21 actions that propose innovative new solutions to promote economic and community development in the region. Proposals under the Strategy addresses a number of sectors, including housing (the development of a retirement village in which elderly residents can live independently and access medical technology and services), family services (the creation of a community-based Irish language childcare service) and climate change (the adaptation of green technologies and more sustainable tourism practices).
To learn more please visit https://www.smartrural21.eu/villages/dingle_ie/
Cloughjordan Ecovillage in Co. Tipperary is an internationally-recognised best-practice example of how a community can come together to support a sustainable, low-carbon model of living. The village is home to over 100 residents and contains low-energy green homes, a renewable district heating system, community farm and biodiverse farm. In addition to environmental sustainability, in recent years the Cloughjordan community has continued to develop and adapt smart innovative solutions to further support social and economic resilience. The Cloughjordan Community Farm manages an Open Food Hub, a community-owned digital platform that connects farmers and producers to local buyers. Developed by the Open Food Network, the platform allows producers to upload details of their products. These products can then be viewed and purchased online through the hub, with digital payments facilitated through the platform. The Open Food Hub software is designed to be adaptable for different community. In Cloughjordan, the food hub connects producers within the village and the wider rural region to potential buyers, providing a one-stop digital marketplace for fresh, local and artisan produce. This model helps support sustainable economic activity, with money remaining within the local communities, as well as improving access to fresher, healthier produce.
To learn more about Cloughjordan Ecovillage please visit http://www.thevillage.ie/.
To learn more about the Open Food Network please visit https://www.openfoodnetwork.org/.
The town of Cootehill in Co. Cavan has been proactive in embracing digitisation as a means of supporting rural businesses and connecting communities. In partnership with eTowns.ie the Cootehill Chamber of Commerce has developed www.Cootehill.ie, a multi-functional community website that supports residents, local enterprise and visitors to the town. A key feature of the website is a multi-vendor community marketplace. This e-commerce tool comprises an integrated digital storefront through which multiple local businesses can list and sell goods and services. Other features of the website include an accessible directory of businesses and community groups within the town and an events calendar that updates residents and visitors about goings-on within the town. Overall, the Cootehill website aims to attract ‘digital footfall’ to Cootehill, and in turn convert this footfall into real engagement with local groups and events and help facilitate local businesses in diversifying their offering and receiving payments online.
To learn more about Cootehill please visit https://www.cootehill.ie/.